Before the Bogatyr program can be understood, one must understand the Mecha Gap. At the beginning of the Cosmic Era, the handful of New Earth Governments were all roughly equal, all picking up the same pieces. The Eurasian Alliance seemed to be the strongest in terms of resources and manpower, but were slightly behind the Atlantic Federation in terms of technology. The western power was also struggling with internal conflicts. So it came as something of a surprise when the Federation consolidated and then rocketed ahead in terms of military and communications technology. This was the most apparent in the colonial race and arms race. The Federation quickly established footholds across the Solar system, leaving the rest of the world powers scrambling to catch up. These resources turned the tables for the Federation, because despite being spread across three continents and multiple moons, they had better ships, and the great game changer, the mecha.
The Neo-Soviets and other world powers scrambled to close the mecha gap, to field their own anthropomorphic war machines. This proved a struggle as the Federation had been relatively successful in protecting their technological advances. The biggest problems were overcoming the limitations of conventional building materials for the legs, compact power sources, and computer assistance. Thus, most powers instituted stopgap measures to fill the gap. The ACPS fielded walkers, slow moving bipedal tanks that were heavily armed and armored. Other nations worked more on power armor, and things that were not quite tanks.
The Neo-Soviet Military Planning and Requisitions Office placed the order for the Bogatyr fighting system. It was to combine the strength of Russian armor with the appearance of a mecha, to strike fear into the hearts of the enemy and instill pride in the heart of every Eurasian man and woman.
Bogatyr Mark I
The Bogatyr Mk I is an impressive war machine that doubles down on armor and firepower. The main hull of the machine houses a trio of reactors and battery banks to power a twin caterpillar tread drivetrain. Where a conventional tank would have a turret, the Bogatyr has the torso, arms, and head of a mecha.
The Mk I has exceptional armor protection, with the front plate being up to 36 inches thick in places. The layered armor is capable is withstanding most weapons in service with the world militaries. The mecha section likewise has armor that is heavier than normal mecha, but the Bogatyr is limited to the strength of legs, nor does the mecha section have to house a power system, or other components. The command section is located in the hull and removing the mecha head merely inconveniences the machine.
The Mark I mounts a pair of naval cannons in the over the shoulder position, one on each side of the head. These are 12 inch chemjet cannons, combining conventional propellants with magnetic assistance provided by the barrels. The guns can fire at artillery ranges up to fifty kilometers, or can be used at near point blank range. This level of firepower makes the Bogatyr a threat to low flying ships, and able to destroy many mecha with a pair of well placed rounds.
The hull mounts three medium autocannons that can engage faster moving vehicles and power suits. These are conventional autocannons but do boast a high rate of fire.
The arms each mount twin rapid fire 75mm autocannons than have a wide range of fire. While not the most effective weapon against mecha, these guns are effective at taking down power armor, vehicles, and low flying aerospace craft.
The Bogatyr isn't fast, but it can move at up to 30km an hour on its own. This is faster than existing self propelled turrets, and the lower weight of the vehicle makes it more mobile across terrain. To increase it's overland and strategic mobility, the Eurasian Alliance produced a series of support vehicles for the Bogatyr.
Polianitsa - Built on the same chassis as the Bogatyr, the Polianitsa was much lighter, at the cost of the naval grade autocannons and roughly half of the armor plating. These machines could reach speeds up to 45km an hour, and were used as massively armored scouts, Bogatyr recovery vehicles, or would assist in repairing damaged machines including rearming and reloading their weapon systems. There were two support versions of the Polianitsa, an electronics warfare model and a missile support model. The EW model has three officers manning an electronics warfare station and can function as a mobile command center, or as a cyberwar 'fortress' when facing high tech foes. The Katyusha variant drops all of the weapons except the defensive autocannons in favor of fitting a massive pair of 40 tube missile battery packs. These complicated packs can reload and allow for the Polianitsa Katyusha to create hellstorms of missile fire.
Svyagator Platform - the Svyagator is a repulsor type hovercraft, and can only manage a few meters height off of the ground, but can do this even with the enormous load of a Bogatyr in the main bay, or four conventional heavy tanks, or simply more infantry or power armor that can fit in it. The platform has an offset command section on the left hand side of the loading area, allowing for a Bogatyr that is being moved to use its weapons with little fear of damaging the hover platform. When loaded, the Svyagator can move its full cargo load at a speed of up to 120km an hour and across almost any terrain. The Svyagator proved popular with the Eurasian army and was made into countless versions, ranging from mobile command centers, surgical hospitals, and munitions carriers all the way to being adopted by civilian and commercial logistic interests.
The Bogatyr has eight load bearing armor loops in the hull and superstructure of the machine. While it was speculated that these were handholds for power armor to grab and mount the vehicle while it was moving, they have a much more impressive purpose. Any vehicle or number of vehicles can latch onto these points and use them to airlift the Bogatyr. Almost every Neo-Soviet warship has the lift capacity and hoist system to pick up a Bogatyr and move it with relative ease. Likewise either eight helocraft, or four heavy lifter helocraft can move a Bogatyr over short distances.
The Bogatyr is not a unique weapon system, various other world powers toyed around with the notion of the mecha/tank hybrid vehicle, with the most notable being the Grumman-Cyberdyne HK heavy tank with it's anti-laser mirror coating. No major world powers pushed forward with the design, either abandoning mobile armor in favor of other strategic plans such as investing heavily in aerospace fighters, or going for better conventional combat vehicles and power armor, or moved directly into battlemech production. The Bogatyr Mk I was built in relatively large numbers, and was stationed along hostile borders, most notably the ACPS/Alliance border, and in support bases across the western bloc of the Alliance.
The demi-mech was used as the centerpiece of Alliance army groups, with it being supported by large numbers of power armor troops, conscripts, and armored fighting vehicles, including the large and impressively armed Apocalypse, Behemoth, Demolisher, and Zhukov heavy tanks. These units were held in readiness across their zones, and were not used for heavy armored patrols.
The Bogatyr system worked well, and after a few initial challenges, mostly along the ACPS/Alliance border, they were left alone. The sheer amount of armor the vehicles mounted made them all but impervious to anything shy of capital weapons, and those required direct hits, and even then the Bogatyr might survive long enough to return fire. While a number were lost and destroyed, none came cheaply, and most did impressive 'stand and deliver' final moments. The ACPS in turn lost hard to replace frigates and destroyers in their short lived confrontation with the Neo-Soviets.
The Bogatyr has evolved from the Mark I to the current iteration, the Mark 19. Most of the improvements have been to increase the reliability of the drivetrain, updating the electronics systems, and improving the powerplants. As the robustness of the reactors increased, later models of the Bogatyr started phasing out the autocannons to replace them with lasers and full magnetic weaponry. The latest models have reverse engineered battlemech Limited Artificial Intelligence systems at their core, the Megamozg System being an almost carbon copy of the Pacific Rim Coalition's Metal Motion L/AI.
The Bogatyr and the hybrid tank/mech platform is seemingly established in the Neo-Soviet military psyche. Intended to be a stopgap measure for mecha, the Bogatyr will remain in service and limited production for a long time, and will likely spawn a large number of variants and models. The Eurasian Alliance has the ability to produce mecha, but these machines are still a few steps behind their Federation and Coalition counterparts, but this isn't considered a major concern and interest in closing the gap completely has been largely passed over. The Bogatyr and other military assets are more than capable of handling the major land war for the Alliance, the ACPS. Likewise, the confrontations with the Federation are increasingly in space and economic, and the Alliance has decided to fight that war by seeding claim to the Earth's oceans, and consolidating their hold over Asia.
The mighty Bogatyr will stand until the Eurasian Alliance itself falls.